TITLE: Eyes Like Stars
AUTHOR: Lisa Mantchev
GENRE: Young Adult, Fantasy
TAG LINE: “All her world’s a stage.”
REVIEW: 1 Star
SUMMARY: Welcome to the Théâtre Illuminata, where the actors of every play ever written can be found behind the curtain. They were born to play their parts, and are bound to the Théâtre by The Book—an ancient and magical tome of scripts. Bertie is not one of them, but they are her family—and she is about to lose them all and the only home she has ever known.
REVIEW: I tried to like this story. You can’t imagine how badly I wanted to. I’ve waited a long time to read this, and when I finally got my hands on it at Half-Price Books, I was ecstatic! The cover is beautiful. The summary drew me in. AND it was super cheap. A recipe for success.
Wrong. How wrong I was.
This is a good example of not judging a book by its cover. Here I thought I’d have this elegantly written novel, but it wasn’t. It was far from what I had anticipated. I’m going to point out right now that I haven’t even finished the book. I made it to page 155 and finally said, “Enough is enough!”
Beatrice Shakespeare Smith is about to be kicked out of the only home she’s ever known, the Theatre Illuminata. With the aid of four fairies from A Midsummer’s Nights Dream and a pirate from The Little Mermaid, she decides to put on a retelling of Hamlet in order to prove she belongs at the theater. There are some people that don’t want Bertie to stay though, and some that want to use her for other purposes, including an air spirit from The Tempest.
That’s about the extent of my knowledge on the plot. I skimmed through the end to kind of piece together what happened and decided I didn’t much care for continuing on.
The plot sounds like a bad teen movie. It wasn’t anything like what I expected. The premise of the story was amazing. A magical theater where every character ever created could exist, a single book to bind and control them, and one girl who could change everything. What the summary tells you isn’t anything like what you get in the actual story.
Bertie wasn’t a very interesting heroine. She was annoying, irresponsible, and selfish. The first chapter was about her dying her hair. I wasn’t rooting for her. In fact, I could care less about what happened to her. She made poor decisions and then didn’t expect repercussions.
Nate, the pirate, was flat. I just… I can’t. I don’t know anything about him. He just seemed thrown in there. He’s supposed to be Bertie’s love interest, but he’s flatter than the paper the book was printed on. He’s a pirate, but he doesn’t act like one (other than speaking in a horrible pirate accent that was really annoying to read). Pirates are rough around the edges, crude, and tough. Nate was none of these. He was a tool. A complete and utter tool.
The fairies were somewhat amusing, but their antics grew old fast.
Ariel… oh Ariel. He’s supposed to be the third member of the love triangle. He has more dimensions than Nate, but he’s just as bad. He acts like a girl. In fact, I’m still not sure if he’s a girl or not. There was no dick to prove he wasn’t. He threw temper tantrums whenever he didn’t get what he wanted. He tried to ruin Bertie’s play. He acted more like a villain than anything.
There was supposed to be chemistry between Bertie and Ariel, but it always felt non-con. I wasn’t sure why the author tried to push them together. It was completely uncalled for.
This brings me to the story its self. My first issue with the plot was the fact that there was no distinct time period. The author never specified if the theater was in a dimension where time didn’t exist, but that was the feel. There was a blend of eras that made it hard to decide what time period they actually existed in.
It was hard to keep track of what was going on with the constant scene changes. Bertie used the stage like it was her own personal house. I could understand why the Stage Master was so pissed. If I had some girl coming along and calling for a scene change just to take a bath, I’d be in rage too. There wasn’t a need for how many times Bertie changed scenes, and it made it really hard to keep track of what was going on. I didn’t understand half the reasons why she did it (which brings us back to her selfish choices).
In the beginning of the story the author used scene scripting in order to do flashbacks. This was extremely jarring and confusing. It took me a minute to catch on. The idea could have been neat if it was carried through the story, but it’s used only in the first 50 pages and then just forgotten about. It was random, like she decided she needed to add to the word count and threw it in.
I didn’t much care for the author’s writing style. She made poor word choices and used far too many similes and metaphors. Every other sentence was ‘like a [insert an object]’.
All together it was a bad story. I have no interesting in investing anymore time in it. I don’t care what happens to Bertie. I don’t care about her succeeding, or if she fails. I just don’t care. And that, in its self, is what makes this story so bad. It just didn’t make me feel.